From Golconda &…Oh, We’re Done Already

Rashmi Rajgopal attempts stopping people from over-crowding the Saffronart Gallery for the house-full Usha Bala Krishnan talk held on 17th October 2013.

Mumbai: A couple weeks ago, I was assigned a pretty important task: to create a list of comparisons between Type II A diamonds. Okay, okay, I’ll explain. You’ve already been pushed into a pool of mails from us, the ones with our upcoming auction, preview invitations, talks etc. No buoys to keep you afloat in the deep end either. Then one came floating your way just as you thought you’d never live to see another humdrum day. The buoy branded Usha Bala Krishnan Talk “From Golconda & Beyond: Gems & Jewels from India” on 17th October 2013, 7:00 pm. You gasped a bit, flailed about awkwardly and got a hold of that buoy. Then you inhaled sharply, slowly…relieved. This buoy kept you floating, and you’re now indebted to it.

So what does this have to do with my “pretty important task”? The buoy and I were indirectly in cahoots to get you to Saffronart and view our jewellery, especially some of our highlights, Type II A diamond piece included. Hah, got you! No…? Drowning in the wrong pool? No worries, Dr. Usha Ramamrutham Bala Krishnan will throw the float in.

Dr. Bala Krishnan

House full, to be fair to those who missed it. You may continue reading.


We thought you’d be intrigued (read: conveying all that extra stuff you wouldn’t want to research by yourself) to have the eminent Dr. Bala Krishnan speak about her field of research. I’m guessing many of you are already familiar with some of her earlier works; Dance of the Peacock and Jewels of the Nizams are two prolific books she wrote on Indian Jewellery. She’s a well-known jewellery historian and consultant after all. I know some of you showed up because you knew who she was and wanted to hear her speak. It was a rewarding experience for many of you. For those who didn’t let the allure of Bala Krishnan’s potent knowledge, cocktails and socialising rescue them from their work, here’s a summary.

Beginning with a background on the history of jewels, Dr. Bala Krishnan went on to the most important of maharatnas…*drums sounding* the diamonds. What sets Golcondas apart from the rest, the chemical composition of Type II and Type I diamonds…all the information you’d  not want to dissect, but would still consider fairly important to make a purchasing decision. Type II A is the rarest of the lot and extremely hard to come by. Type I are the generic ones. Do you come across Golcondas easily? Not really. They don’t make ones like the Koh-i-Nur, Beau Sancy etc. anymore. The closest you’d get is to Type II As, the ones exhibiting characteristics of Golcondas. Diamonds? Check. What next? The other maharatnas. We did say that the talk would progress beyond Golconda.

Dr. Bala Krishnan + cocktails + attentive audience= win

Dr. Bala Krishnan + cocktails + attentive audience = win

Moving fluidly from emeralds, rubies, pearls and the other ratnas to crafting techniques and craftsmen, Dr. Bala Krishnan kept her talk concise and spot-on. I can safely say she covered all the highlights of the auction, including the Oomersi Mawji silverware, the repoussé pendants and temple jewellery on display, and did so very convincingly. We all know how tricky it is to keep your audience hooked and move on to the next topic.  No pauses, no hiccups. The efficiency and relevance of the talk were as limpidly obvious as the diamonds she spoke of, and that’s saying a lot from a cynic like me.

So Dr. Bala Krishnan’s thrown the float in the water. I still have to pull at it with my comparatives list. You want to see how our Type IIA compares to other diamonds of similar cut, clarity, carat and colour? Drop by the gallery to find out.

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